The Terror: Infamy Episode 7 My Perfect World-Review and Recap
A return to true horror this week saw three different possessions, the resurrection of a monster, and an ugly couple of deaths in episode seven.
Courtesy of Ed Araquel/ AMC
Hardcore horror fans should be happy this week as the opening sequence saw the formation of a monster, stitch by gruesome stitch. This was a much more tense episode as The Terror: Infamy leaned hard into its horror roots. Another Yuko-heavy hour revealed more secrets along with eerie scares. More painful truths are exposed and family dynamics continue to devolve as Chester and his family grapple with their past, present, and future.
In camp, a Tuberculosis epidemic has swept through camp leaving hundreds sick including the only two doctors. With the close quarters and limited healthcare available communicable diseases were common in Japanese Internment Camps. Whooping Cough, Diphtheria, and Small Pox, along with TB raged through the population. Colinas de Oro is true to history. As Amy and the Nakayama’s try to care for the group things become dire enough, Amy must attempt to negotiate with Major Bowen. Ultimately, it is Ken and Amy who get the residents to the hospital. Ken acts rashly and pays the ultimate price, but not before Amy places a call for help. After witnessing the depravity of Bowen, she takes matters into her own hands and begins recording their entire time together. Miki Ishikawa(Amy) has turned in solid performances that have been subtle and carefully controlled while showing a wide range of emotions. Her anger, frustration, grief, and fear is broadcast from her expressive eyes, despite her placid expression.
C. Thomas Howell got much more screen time this week as the camps bigoted, blowhard ranking officer. He has been excellent with episode seven a standout. Howell was tasked with being Bowen’s awful self and a vulnerable, confused man. He performs both masterfully. Never straying completely into a caricature he is able to skirt the line between villain and cartoon. His Bowen is a monster even without being controlled by a Yurei. We watch Yuko possess him for a time, but perhaps he is too evil for even her to stay for long. Since we did not see who placed the recorder inside his barracks, it is also possible he put them there himself under the influence of Yuko. Since she has not shown any concern for anyone up to this point but Chester it is unlikely.
Luz and Chester reunite after Chester makes a daring escape from camp. After escaping from transport to Tule Lake Camp, he makes his way to Luz at her Fathers. Showing parents are the same, regardless of religion or ethnicity, Luz’ father only wants her to be happy with someone who will care for her. We all want what is best for our children and think those that are not “other” are safest. For some that “otherness” takes the form of race, education, gender, or even as simple as geographic location. It is a common trope that has been used in horror media for a long time for good reason. Fear is a strong emotion, and there is no greater fear than that of the unknown.
Before Chester arrives, Luz is trying to rebuild her life by denying her love. One look at him, and she can’t ignore her feelings. She leaves a note for her Father as she leaves with Chester for New Mexico. Unbeknownst to the two young lovers who have lost so much, Yuko is coming for him and won’t let anyone get in her way. With Chester’s newest discovery, there may be others Yuko is looking for. Taizo/Chester could just as likely be the only living child left. What the reveal means remains to be seen, but Taizo was a twin. What happened to the other baby is unknown? Do Asaka and Henry know of this other baby? If so, why didn’t they take this child in as well? As the episode closes Yuko visits Luz’ home and acquires their location from her father. Having fulfilled his purpose, she forces him to stab himself through the eye with a fountain pen. Aside from the opening scene it is the most gruesome of the episode.
Visually, the camera work continues to be stunning. Director of Photography John Conroy makes good use of long shots to establish fear with his antagonist. Foggy, backlit vistas do all the work in creating atmosphere fit for the demonic ghost Yuko. Makeup and special effects work by Vicki Syskakis effectively show the transformation from the decaying undead to a beautiful woman in all its many stages. Plot work has been consistent without being redundant and has doled out twists like candy to the addicts we have all become.
Irony plays a huge part this week. Yuko’s “perfect world” in some ways was the Utopian Hell she ran from. The life she was living was full of pain and suffering. Now that she is chasing Chester, her life is far from perfect. Typically if one must weave themselves back together from cadavers in between kills, they aren’t living their best life. The irony of Bowen’s words that it would be easier to believe there is a demon is profound. In some ways that is true, as although Yuko is relentless and extremely powerful, the genuine evil shown are human beings. America’s treatment of the Japanese during World War II is appalling. That is not the only dose of irony dished to Bowen as the recordings he so religiously keeps running were there to protect him but may very well be his undoing. Lastly, the bleak irony of Chester saying to a white soldier guarding him that if he wants to “shoot a sergeant in the back, private”? The fact that many of those interred gave their lives or their children’s lives fighting for a country that had imprisoned them is unconscionable. In many cases like Chester, they outranked their white counterparts.
The Japanese Internment Camps are not a proud part of our history and one that demands remembering. Just as The Terror season one showed British colonialism, human hubris, and sociopathy, Infamy shows cruelty, racism, ignorance, and fear. The Terror: Infamy has brought this oft-forgotten part of history to the forefront in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining. AMC’s has cornered the market on smart horror.